Engine management in Fritz

9/1/2003 – Do you have dozens or even scores of engines available in your Fritz engine selection dialogue? Do you get tired of scrolling through long lists of available engines? Do you ever wish the task could be easier? We address the issue in this week's ChessBase Workshop, in which we examine the "Engine management" feature in Fritz8. More...

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by Steve Lopez

Computer chess afficionados collect chess engines the way Malcolm Forbes collected toy soldiers. There are a lot of benefits to doing so; different programmers bring a variety of things with them to the proverbial table, and the cornucopia of available chess engines runs the gamut of playing styles from the wildly sacrificial to solidly defensive.

The drawback to having a plethora of engines rears its ugly head when you're scrolling though a seemingly endless engine list in Fritz, trying to find that one particular engine. The problem can be magnified when you have multiple versions of the same engine; it can be a real grind scrolling through three screens of Crafty and Comet versions on your way down to the engines that start with the letter D.

So how do you handle this long, long list of engines? Many users think that deleting unused engines is the way to go. While this is a possible solution (particularly if you're trying to conserve space on your hard drive), the drawback is that once you've deleted an engine it's gone. (And, back when I did phone support, I really did have callers occasionally ask me, "How do I get back an engine I've deleted?" Sorry, but deleted means deleted)

Another possible solution is to move the engines from one folder to another, using Windows Explorer, My Computer, etc. That, too, is possible, especially if hard disk space isn't a consideration. But here again there's a drawback: you have to remember what folder you moved them to. (Yes, Virginia, I did have calls like that also. "Can you tell me what folder I moved Crafty 19.01 to last week?" Not without a crystal ball or a Ouija board).

There's a third solution, one which is ridiculously simple and resides directly within the Fritz program; you don't even have to exit or minimize to be able to use it. It's called "Engine management". It does a very simple thing: it can move engines from your \Engines folder to a different folder called \Inactive engines. Oh, and it can move them back again as well (so no worries there, mate).

To use Engine management, fire up your Fritz8 program, go to the Engine menu, and select "Engine management". After a second or three, you'll see a dialogue appear which looks like this:

Obviously, your display won't look exactly like this, as you'll most probably have a different set of engines available (so please don't send e-mails asking why you don't have Amy 0.8 in your engines list -- it's a free Winboard engine I downloaded and adapted for use in Fritz).

In this display are two boxes. The lefthand box shows a list of your active engines. These are the engines that are available for use within your Fritz program (i.e. the engines that appear when you hit F3 to get the engine selection dialogue). My original engine list had over 250 engines listed in it -- that's a lot of scrolling. So to weed out the ones I'm not using I need to move them to the inactive engines list (the righthand box).

To move an engine from the active list to the inactive list, first you single-click on the engine you wish to move. The engine's name will be highlighted with a blue bar. Then click on the upper button of the pair displayed between the two boxes; that is, click on the button showing arrows pointing from left to right. You'll then see that engine's name disappear from the lefthand box and appear in the righthand box. The engine's status has now been changed from "active" to "inactive". You haven't deleted the engine, but it won't be visible in your engine selection list unless you reactivate it. In fact, that engine's files have been physically moved from the \Engines folder to another folder called \Inactive enines.

Here are a couple of graphics to show how it works. First I'll select the engine Aldebaran 0.7.0:

Next I'll click on the button showing arrows pointing toward the right, and I'll see this:

And we now see Aldebaran 0.7.0 in the righthand box under "Inactive engines". If I want to reactivate it, I'd just single-click on its name in the righthand box and use the other arrow button (pointing from right to left) and it will again be displayed in the "Active engines" box.

It's simple and convenient. And there's an additional benefit to using this feature. Many engines require multiple files (such as a .dll file and a .eng file) in order for them to function. If you were to move the files by hand it would be very easy to move one file and not the other, and the engine might then still appear in your engine selection dialogue. If you were to mistakenly select this engine as an opponent or analysis engine, it wouldn't run (and you might get an error message or even crash the program entirely). Using the "Engine management" dialogue eliminates this worry, as the program will move both the .dll and .eng file to the \Inactive engines folder for you.

Until next week, have fun!

© 2003, Steven A. Lopez. All rights reserved.

Topics f8
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nsy2ndteam nsy2ndteam 9/21/2015 10:39
my database went corrupt so i re installed deep fritz 14 and it wont install because mfc100.dll is missing can you assizt